Through his art and installations, Yoshi Nakamura explores ways for people to connect with others—despite their differences—and create a mutual, some might say, musical, understanding.

He uses painting, sculpture, physical space, sound, and performance to convey his art, along with the musical instruments he creates out of every objects. He developed his practice in Japan and the US, then achieved three solo exhibitions in Baltimore and Cincinnati (Julio Fine Arts gallery, Visionaries + Voices, Wave Pool gallery and The welcome project) following graduation. A residency at Franconia sculpture park in Minnesota is forthcoming in 2021.

:: An informal interview with Yoshi

What are your preferred pronouns? 
Where do you call home? 
What is your program and year of graduation? 
MFA, Mount Royal School of Art (2020)
What inspired you to take the leap of going to graduate school? 

In the year 2000, I lost my hearing due to a condition known as congenital sensorineural hearing loss. I went from being able to hear to being completely deaf. In 2012, I received a cochlear implant that led to a complete change in my audio, visual, and temporal perceptions. I transitioned from a two-dimensional, monochromatic, soundless world to a blended, two and three-dimensional world full of vibrant colors and sounds. Regaining my hearing through the use of the implant has had a profound influence on my work. This has involved me going beyond the traditional instruction that I received at Tokyo University of the Arts while completing my PhD in Japanese painting. Traditional painting imposed restrictions on my choice of media and materials, and inhibited me in respect. I felt a strong desire to break down the barrier of two-dimensional visual space and challenge the traditional notions of beauty by using sonic elements in my work.

How has this scholarship impacted your thinking and process during your time in graduate school? 

The Leslie King-Hammond scholarship has given me a chance to develop my art field from Japanese painting to Contemporary art.

What have you been working on? Share the driving questions and inspiration that informs your work as an artist, designer, educator and/or activist. 

I am interested in finding new ways for people to connect with others through my music and art. I have been creating musical instruments out of everyday objects. Many of my installations are interactive projects that involve my audience.